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Excel 2020: Avoid Whiplash with Speak Cells

December 09, 2020 - by Bill Jelen

Avoid Whiplash with Speak Cells. Photo Credit: Chris Leipelt at

I hate having to hand-key data into Excel. Between the Internet and Power Query, there almost always is a way to find the data somewhere. I hate when people send a PDF where they scanned some numbers and are sending the numbers as a picture. A free trial of Able2Extract Pro will get the actual number into Excel. Even so, sometimes you end up keying data into Excel.

One of the painful parts about keying in data is that you have to proofread the numbers. So, you are looking at the sheet of paper, then the screen, then the paper, then the screen. You will end up with a sore neck. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had someone to read you the screen so you can keep your eye on the paper? It’s built in to Excel.

Right-click on the Quick Access Toolbar and choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar.

Change the top-left dropdown to Commands Not in the Ribbon. Scroll down to the S entries until you find Speak Cells. Add all five of these commands to the Quick Access Toolbar.

The five commands to add to the Quick Access Toolbar: Speak Cells, Speak Cells - Stop Speaking Cells, Speak Cells by Columns, Speak Cells by Rows, Speak Cells on Enter.

Select your range of numbers and click Speak Cells. Excel reads you the numbers.

Choose a range of cells and click Speak Cells.


You can customize the voice in the Windows Control Panel. Search for Text to Speech. There is a setting for Voice Speed. Drag that slider to halfway between Normal and Fast to have the voice read your cells faster.

In the Control Panel, under Speech Recnognition, choose Speech Properties. In the Speech Properties dialog, the second tab is Text to Speech. The current voice is Microsoft Anna. The important setting here is Voice Speed. Move half way from Normal to Fast to have Excel read the cells slightly faster.

Title Photo: Chris Leipelt at

This article is an excerpt from MrExcel 2020 - Seeing Excel Clearly.

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
MrExcel 2020 - Seeing Excel Clearly

This is a 4th edition of MrExcel LX. Updates for 2020 include: Ask a question about your data, XLOOKUP, Power Query's Data Profiling tools, How Geography Data Types decide which Madison, A SEQUENCE example for descending 52 weeks, Exchange Rates support in Stock Data Types, How to collapse the Search box, How to leave effective feedback for Microsoft, How to post your worksheet to the MrExcel Board using XL2BB.